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A Ranma ½ story
by Ukyou Kounji

Ranma


You all know that I love her dearly. I would do anything for her. When her dream finally died, she went into seclusion for a number of days. I would go up to her room at every opportunity to assure myself that she was all right, to bring her meals up to her, or anything else she requested. I would also ask, every time I was there, if she were willing to talk about it, if she would open her door. Over time, her 'no's gradually withered, and finally, one day, she opened the door to her apartment and let me in.

I had never been allowed inside the sanctum that was her apartment; to be sure, I had never so much as dared to ask. This was Ukyou-sama's home, after all — it was not my place to be here. But she had invited me in this day… perhaps she would be willing to unburden herself by talking to me about her feelings, maybe try to get over him. Something, anything…

…No such thing. With a smile and a wave, she disappeared into her bedroom. "Hang on a moment… let me show you this…." She emerged holding a familiar red Chinese-style shirt. I had no idea where she'd gotten it from, and it wasn't my place to pry. "Would you be willing to try this on?"

I took it, my hand trembling as I did. I knew where this was going to lead, but I thought it would keep her happy if I did what she asked. It fit me well, and the dreamy look on Ukyou-sama's face was one I vowed to keep there. If I had to wear this shirt to do it, I would.

In fact, the next day I decided to go the extra mile for her sake: I had my long hair cut to shoulder length, and tied what remained back into a pigtail. If she wanted me to remind her of Ranma, I would do my best to look as much like him as possible. When it was done, I looked in the mirror at the finished work. I'm not ruggedly handsome the way he is, but if you squint a bit, you could see a resemblance if you wanted to. Just looking at my reflection made me want to puff out my chest a bit. I watched as a slightly cocky grin creased my face. There, now I was starting to look like him.

As I returned to the Ucchan, I even went so far as to walk along the tops of the fences lining the way. I slid open the restaurant door with my foot, and…

and…

…and I couldn't say anything. The look in her eyes was one of pure joy, a look that I had never truly seen in her before. She seemed grateful to me for being willing to become Ranma. I smiled as I gazed into her eyes, and I knew that this was the happiest moment of my life.

And I knew just how short-lived it would be.

"Ran-chan…"

It was the turning point. She would never call me by my real name again. Perhaps it shouldn't have bothered me so… 'call me but 'love' and I'll be new baptized', wasn't that how the line went? I felt a slight nagging in the back of my mind even then, reminding me of the fate of the young man who said those words.

"You like it, Ukyou-sama?"

She winced, almost imperceptibly. "Don't you remember? I'm 'Ucchan,' sugar…"

The word caught in my throat. Ucchan. How disrespectful that would be of me! How dare I be so familiar with this woman who rescued me from my step-family, who had granted me gainful employment, who I owed so much to! She deserved more honor from me than even the name 'Ukyou-sama' could bestow. But what else could I do to show her my devotion?

I could do what she asked, that was what else. I took a deep breath, and let fly. "H-hiya, Uk… Uk…Uk… chan."

Oh, how her face just lit up! She vaulted over the counter and bounded over to me, wrapping me up in an embrace that told me that Ranma had no idea what he had lost out on. And if he did, he would have surrendered everything for it, just as I had.


Over the following weeks, she began to treat me as the 'Ran-chan' she had so dreamed of making hers. We sparred, we talked, she fed me copious amounts of okonomiyaki. There were even days when she refused to let me wait on the patrons, letting me just sit and enjoy the ambiance of the Ucchan, our home.

It was a rather idyllic life, as the real Ranma never seemed to darken the door of the Ucchan anymore. I don't know how Ukyou-sama would have taken it were he to appear, but I know it was embarrassing enough to have encountered him by myself. I continued to practice walking on fences when I nearly collided with him and Akane (he was apparently teaching her the art of balance, too).

He jumped off the fence, pulling Akane by the hand. She stepped back as he dropped into a battle stance. "All right, Ken… what is it this time?"

I jumped down and shook my head, my confidence shattered. There was no way to be a passable imitation when the genuine article was standing barely a meter away. "No, Ranma… Iím… Iím Konatsu."

Both he and Akane were startled at this revelation. "Konatsu…? But what are you doing… going around looking like… ?"

I stared at the ground just in front of my toes. "Ukyou-sama misses you terribly, Ranma-san. I'm so sorry!" And I sprang to the fence, catapulting myself onto a nearby rooftop. I had to get back to the Ucchan. I couldn't stay out here, and risk running into him now.


I felt as if I had betrayed her by revealing myself to Ranma, however inadvertently. But he never came around, never called, never tried to find out what was going on at the Ucchan, and so Ukyou-sama was none the wiser.

And then the day came…


"Do you…" I could only give the justice of the peace a helpless shrug as he paused, waiting for me to give my name. With no more response than that, he was forced to continue: "…take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

"Yes sir, I do." And I did. This wasn't playacting, this was for real. I truly loved her, and I still truly do. I always will. Kami knows how much, considering what I'd given up for this moment.

"And do you, Ukyou Kuonji, take this man…"

"Yes!"


I paused as I held the pen. Whose name goes on this marriage certificate?

"Go on, Ran-chan… why are you hesitating?" I had my answer. I steeled myself and placed the point of the pen to the paper:

Sao… to… me… Ran… ma.

I pressed my thumb into the ink, and made an imprint by 'my' signature, praying that it would not be taken for a forgery. From this day forward, I was he, as she decreed. I would answer to that name when summoned. She would cry out that name when we made love. Henceforth, I was to be Ranma Saotome.

Konatsu Kenzan was no more… but if she was happy…

Ukyou
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